Sunday, June 25, 2017

Shot, Bitten, and Scorched

Hi. That's me. I'm Nikola Vegas. Okay that's not me, but that's how I picture me. I graduated from RNI University and I was on track to become a professor. My parents taught at RNI, my genius younger brother, Isaac, is already a professor. My sister, Marie, is a project manager for a bio-tech branch of the university. So I was the last of the family to join the employ of RNI. 

When I completed the professor training and explained to my parents that I wanted to explore other worlds, not read about the history, but find the history, they just stared at me. They took me to the campus Pizza Hut to 'celebrate' my graduation. The buffet no less, I believe my mother's exact words were, "A suiting celebration for the career path you've chosen". We ate in silence, my father paid the bill and they left without so much as a good luck.

Earlier in the week I'd spent nearly every credit getting the supplies I could afford. I got this sweet laser pistol. Now with only a few credits to my name I waled to the job recruiter's office, backpack in hand. I needed a job.

Without going into too much detail there was a cargo ship, the Tuskavarda CX-7. Tusk for short. A cargo ship headed to the out most planet, specifically to Millwall Station. A mining operation, but access to some of the outer planets that haven't been explored, but surface scans have shown anomalies. The word anomalies is candy for my ears. While I might be digging, or hauling, it would give me a chance to earn some credits to do what I want to do.

While on the Tusk I met an interesting guy, Max. Apparently his father is the majority share holder in the mining operation. I was hoping this was a break for me. Maybe I could get a better job knowing Max. 

A few days into the trip things got exciting. Too exciting. There were a series of deafening bangs on the ship's hull. The alert went off. The other passengers were in a panic.Max and I not ones to sit around started toward the lounge, the lounge had the best windows on the ship to see what was going on outside. Outside our door a crew member handed us emergency packs and told us to return to our rooms. Ahh, no.

From the lounge I saw the strangest ship I'd ever seen. It looked like five different ships fused together. I'd heard of hartunfaans, but never thought I'd see one of their ships this soon. Killers and breeders, an evil lot. Max and I ran up to the bridge to see if there was anything we could do. A boarding pod latched onto the hull outside the cargo bay. A chance to use my new laser pistol. Excited and terrified Max and I ran down to the cargo area. Large blivets of various of gases were secured by cables. Four levels. It was crazy.

Boom! The boarding pod struck the side of the ship, blew a hole threw the hull and six hartunfaans ran out. They wore magnetic boots and were standing on the walls. From below, four crew members of the Tusk opened fire. Max was quick to run to join them, his laser pistol firing wildly in the air. He showed no fear. I went up to the next level hoping to catch the bastards in a crossfire. What the hell did I know? I was always the third man on the university fencing team and there were only four of us.

I reached the next level, laser fire was going everywhere and we were surrounded by 300 lb. compressed gas bombs. I did a quick estimation in my mind and thought it was comparable to my parents putting me into advanced quantum physics class when I was nine. But I didn't have a sweet laser pistol then.

I fired off my first shot. I missed. Actually, if the hull hadn't been there I probably would have missed space!  One of the crew members went down as did one of the hartunfaans. The one I shot at took aim at me and missed, but he melted a large section of the catwalk I was standing on. Then hit me with second shot. Luckily the railing got the most of it. Then the gas blivet caught fire.

Before I know what I was doing I jumped off the catwalk onto the hartunfaans that shot at me. I ended up putting him in a headlock and shooting at another raider. I...ah...missed again. 

Max and the crew were laying down heavy fire, but two of the crew were down and another one was trapped under a gas blivet. 

As I was hanging on for dear life, the hartunfaan, the fucker bit me. Next thing I know I am woozy, I can understand what its saying and my will was fading, I was ready to do whatever it wanted. Max blasted it, but it still tried to shoot me. I was able to get enough of my wits gathered and blasted it dead. Then I nearly fell the remaining two tiers. Which would have been okay, since the hartunfaan blew himself up. 

Max was able to rescue me from taking the fall. After all, I'd already been shot, bitten and burned. No need to add a fall to it. Then the boarding ship exploded opening a large hole into space. We managed to direct one of the gas blivets to 'plug' the hole. 

We escaped to the bridge and things went nuts. In short, the hartunfaan blew the bridge off the ship. Max and I sealed ourselves in the navigation room. Distress calls had been made and scout ships from the Millwall Station arrived just in time to chase the remaining hartunfaan away. 

Once we arrived at Millwall Station Col. Bertolucci offered Max and I the Tusk, since everyone else had died except a janitor and an elderly couple. But, the Tusk needs thousands of credits of repairs. I think I have three to my name. However, if we did some missions for a strange alien named Dr. Scrot. 

So it begins.